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Secrets of Srilanka
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Mixed Groups

14 Days / 13 Nights Trip to Sri Lanka

Secrets of Srilanka

Explore the natural, cultural and spiritual splendours of this island paradise, with a fun group of international travellers who love travel and adventure as much as you do!
Together, you’ll enjoy a holiday that is like the perfect Sri Lankan curry: colourful, full of flavour and remarkably good for you. Explore charming cities and revered temples, shop in local markets, eat lots of curry, and enjoy the company of your new friends throughout.
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  • Duration
    14 Days
  • Starting From
    $3,325
    /person
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
    Explore
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Explore Colombo
Highlight #1
Explore Colombo
Wander a crazy, chaotic, colourful jumble of mosques, temples and shops selling everything from  heaps of fierce-looking chillies to cut-price gems
Visit the UNESCO listed port city of Galle 
Highlight #2
Visit the UNESCO listed port city of Galle 
With a jumble of colonial buildings, whitewashed churches, pretty craft boutiques and its famous fort and lighthouse, it’s a delight to explore.
Everywhere you look in Nuwara Eliya is scenic splendour
Highlight #3
Everywhere you look in Nuwara Eliya is scenic splendour
In Sri Lanka’s hill country, views of green valleys of tea and misty mountain peaks lie around every bend
Video

Sri Lanka | Virtual Vacation in 4K

Sri Lanka is one of the world's most fascinating island destinations. It's tropical, filled with elephants and jungle, unspoiled beaches and buddhas and should be on your top travel destination bucket list!

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Itinerary

Arrive in Negombo, the famous coastal town famous for its fishing industry and golden sands. This relaxing beach resort is a short distance from Sri Lanka's capital city, and is the perfect place to spot locals bringing in the day's catch and watch the sunset.For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Negombo at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which is 30 minutes' drive from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.If your flight arrives earlier in the day there is the option to head to the beach or make use of the hotel facilities which features a swimming pool and gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Join trip in Negombo




Leaving the capital, our journey takes us northwards along the coast to the fishing port of Negombo. We will pause to visit a nearby fishing village where the catch is made in traditional style large outrigger canoes, known locally as 'oruvas'. We may also see the toddy tappers climbing tall coconut trees and collecting sap from the flowers to make Arrack, a local whisky type spirit. Our destination is a campsite based on the outskirts of Willpattu National Park. We choose to visit this park, rather than the more touristy Yala National Park further south because we believe it offers our customers a better experience. The same animals can be seen here as in Yala, however it is less crowded, making our visit more enjoyable and responsible. We spend two nights here in fixed tents with beds, all linen and towels provided.

Travel to our campsite at Willpattu National Park


Today we take two game drives in to Willpaththu National Park with a trained naturalist. Despite Wilpatu National Park's location in Sri Lanka's dry zone, it boasts nearly 60 lakes and is renowned for leopard, elephant and sambar deer spottings. The group will be split up in to jeeps and explore the park in the hope of spotting a leopard.

Take two game drives in search of leopards

Leaving Willpaththu we pause to view the magnificent Standing Buddha of Aukana, which stands 12 meters high. Sculptured in the 5th century by a master craftsman, it is still relatively isolated in its jungle setting. We then drive to Dambulla, where a great series of caves have been turned into temples (dating from the 1st century BC). We will visit five separate caves, which contain a large number of Buddha images and a few sculptures of Hindu Gods. In one of the caves there is an incredible Reclining Buddha measuring 14m long! This World Heritage Site is visited by crowds of worshippers. We reach our resort in Dambulla in the late afternoon.

Visit a giant Buddha and the cave temples at Dambulla


In the morning we drive to Sigiriya where we climb to the Sky Fortress. The ruins of this 5th century fortress are one of Sri Lanka's major attractions, a stupendous sight to behold and a feat of consummate engineering skill. A switchback series of steps and steel stairways (sometimes steep and challenging) ascend to the top. Halfway up, tucked beneath a sheltering overhang of rock, are the famous frescoes - the Sigiriya Damsels, their colours still glowing. Magnificent views can be enjoyed from the summit of the rock palace. After lunch we explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which reached its height of glory in the 12th century. The city still has many interesting and spectacular buildings and monuments. There is the Royal Palace Group with its Audience Hall, Bathing Pool and Quadrangle - a very compact collection of ruins. Close by is the Circular Relic House, a curious round structure with a beautifully preserved moonstone carved at the foot of a flight of steps. Another famous feature of the deserted city is the group of carved images of the Buddha known as Galvihara. Here there are four colossal figures, all of which are hewn out of solid granite. Later in the afternoon we return to Dambulla.

Climb Lion Rock and explore ancient Polonnaruwa


Lying in the mountains 112km northeast of Colombo, Kandy is, in climatic terms, a world apart due to its altitude of 500m above sea level. The town was captured by the British as late as 1815, and is known more for its cultural and spiritual importance rather than its history. Buddhists from all over the world come to this delightful old highland town, specifically to visit the Temple of the Tooth, the Dalada Maligawa. The costly jewelled shrine of the Holy Tooth (said to be 3.5cm long by 1cm thick and Buddha's left canine) is kept in the upper floor of the original building. This relic was brought from India 1,500 years ago and every year, at the time of the August full moon, it is paraded round the town with great pomp and circumstance. During this ten-night festival of Perahera, the Tooth (or a model of the original) is borne along on a richly decorated elephant, surrounded by saffron-robed monks and Kandyan dancers. Kandyan dancers can also be seen performing every night at one or two locales around town. This afternoon's sightseeing includes attending the Temple of the Tooth Ceremony and a visit to the Peradeniya Botanical Garden.

Drive to Kandy and visit the Temple of the Tooth

A full free day to continue your exploration of this charming mountain town or simply relax and enjoy the amenities at our hotel.

Spend a free day exploring the relaxed town of Kandy

This morning we head off across the highlands, through green rolling hills covered in tea plantations, visiting a working tea factory en route to the hill station of Nuwara Eliya. After checking into our hotel we'll take a tour around this little town, known as Little England, famous for its lake, golf and race course and well manicured gardens.

Visit a tea factory en route to Nuwara Eliya




We head out this morning to Horton Plains, situated on Sri Lanka's highest plateau between altitudes of 2000m and 2300m. Traditionally named Mahaeliya, the park's main attraction is the thrilling escarpment known as World's End which offers stunning views across the tea plantations. We aim to trek to World's End in the morning when the air is clear and the views are best. Although the area is now devoid of elephants, we may be lucky enough to see other flora and fauna such as sambar deer. Returning to the hotel in the early afternoon, there is time to refresh and relax; maybe even a round of golf on the adjacent golf course!

Take a walk on Horton Plains or relax in Nuwara Eliya


Today we make our way to the coast and the pretty town of Galle. Although there is still evidence of damage from the 2004 tsunami all along this coastline, the international relief effort has put the area on a fast path to recovery; and the brand new infrastructure is allowing local communities to benefit from tourism once again. In the late afternoon we visit the old, walled town of Galle itself. Important as a trading port for the Portuguese since the 16th century when the fortress was constructed, it has undoubtedly been a trading centre since ancient times.

Drive to Galle and take a walking tour of the fort


Today has been left free to enjoy all that Galle has to offer. In the area there are a variety of activities and attractions to occupy your free time. You may choose to hire snorkelling equipment and explore the corals or take a sea trip around the coast. Alternatively travel up river past small largely uninhabited islands. There is plenty to see particularly in the old fort area, which was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1988. Overlooking the sea, the fort ramparts protect the harbour, old houses, churches, warehouses and the Arab quarter. Between December and April there may be the opportunity to go on a whale watching trip from nearby Mirissa.

Free day in Galle. Optional whale watching

After breakfast this morning we will drive up the coast towards Mount Lavinia, where our base for the last two nights will be at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. Steeped in colonial heritage and featuring its own private beach, the hotel is set on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Indian Ocean. We will arrive in the afternoon and will have the rest of the day free to enjoy the beach or hotel poolside. For those seeking pure relaxation, massage services are also available at the hotel.

Drive to Mount Lavinia and relax on the beach

This morning we will venture into Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. The city was once known as the Garden City of the East' and holds a wealth of colonial history and architecture mixed in with its modern cosmopolitan vibe. is We'll wander around the historical 'fort' area, now the business district, whose buildings are like a slice through Colombo's colonial history and visit the Pettah neighbourhood, famous for its bustling open air bazaars and markets. We will also visit the most important Buddhist temple in the capital, Gangaramaya, which is an oasis of calm in an otherwise frenetic city and end the trip by the Galle Face Green, an urban park along the sea front where locals gather to often play cricket and gather for other daily rituals.

Morning sightseeing tour of Colombo. Free afternoon to relax

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Mount Lavinia.There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Mount Lavinia at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which is one and a half hours' drive from our hotel.

Trip ends in Mount Lavinia

Inclusions

Not Included

 Additional 5% GST

 International Flights and Visa Fees

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Dates and prices

Start date

14 Nov 2021

End date

27 Nov 2021

4+ Spots left

14 Days / 13 Nights

$3,658

$3,325

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This Trip Is Operated By Explore

At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Our authentic travel experiences explore the sights and culture of a country, with hand-picked accommodation that balances comfort and location. Our average group tour size is just 12; perfect for meeting new people and getting to the heart of our destinations.

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